As current immigration laws stand, thousands of same-sex couples could be separated from their foreign partners even if they have legally married. Whereas binational heterosexual couples can sponsor their spouses for U.S. citizenship, this is not the case with same-sex couples. This is because the law doesn't yet recognize these couples as families.
Huffpost Live's Alicia Menendez discusses this issue as well as other dichotomies between same-sex couples and heterosexual ones.
"There would be no immigration issues at all if we were an opposite sex couple..." Brian Willingham, who has been in a committed relationship with a Mexican citizen for 11 years, told Huffpost live. "There are an unlimited number of visas available for fiances and married spouses of straight us citizens, but for a gay us citizen there are zero visas available for gay spouses."
Brian and his husband Alfonzo, who has been in the country for 21 years, are waiting the verdict on their green card application.
Last week Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitino said she would push for immigration agents to consider same-sex relationships the same as hetrosexual ones when considering deportation. If DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act, is repealed than many couples like Brian could apply for status within the United States.
The current definition actually impedes many other rights for gay people that heterosexual couples share such as even being defined as a family by the government, applying for work in the U.S., or simply visiting family abroad.
Tiffany Loria, who has been with her Canadian partner for 7 years, hasn't seen her for over a month and may not get to see her anytime soon."She was on a bus home actually and she crossed the border and they pulled her off and they held her for three hours. They really treated her like a criminal. They told her to shut up if she asked any more questions. They told her she would be banned for five years if she asked any more questions," Loria told Huffpost Live. "It's this type of mentality that has got to change, people don't understand that they are really ripping families apart...our government, our country is not protecting our family but tearing our family apart."